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Title: Barry MacSweeney's North East :a study of the rural and the urban in his published and unpublished poetry
Authors: Smith, Rebecca Anne
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The rural and the urban North East constitute fundamental and enduring elements of Barry MacSweeney's poetic, connecting his oeuvre from the earliest to the last of his compositions. Both have received frequent and passing attention from critics, but this is the first sustained examination to draw extensively on the recently acquired Barry MacSweeney Archive at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The first part deals with MacSweeney's rural North East, dernythologising his complex literary relationship with the poet Basil Bunting; examining the construction of his 'Sparty Lea locale'; exploring his wider North East region and assessing the complex signification of 'North' and Northern identity within his work. The second part focuses on the poet's urban North East and attempts to redress the underdeveloped status of his native Newcastle in criticism of his work. It examines the literary precursors which enabled MacSweeney to realise his poetic city; unravels the imagistic evolution of Newcastle as an entity within his published and manuscript poems; and explores the private concerns which made it a truly individual construct. MacSweeney's poetic North East is shown to be a place of solitary refuge but also of community: one infused with passion, restlessness, social indignation and a notion of identity fragmented by geographical tensions. Above all this thesis demonstrates the centrality of the landscapes which MacSweeney deemed fundamental to himself and to the nature of his region; his willingness to respond to these evolving topographies; and his constant endeavours to inscribe and understand his own interaction with them through the metamorphosing forms of his poetry.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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